Muhammad Ali passed away last June at the age of 74, but his absence from life and the ring has not hurt is ranking in the heavyweight division. In fact, he has moved up from 8th in the world rankings to 6th in recent months.
“The heavyweight division isn’t very strong in the last, you know … decades, that’s for sure,” said ESPN boxing writer Dan Rafael. “At the same time, I think this ranking shows the immense respect every still has for Ali, even a year after his death and more than 35 years after his last fight. Had he come back, he would have been very competitive in the division even in his seventies.”
The current heavyweight rankings have Tyson Fury first, followed by Wladimir Klitschko, Deontay Wilder, Luis Ortiz, Anthony Joshua and then Ali. The legend’s recent rise in the rankings is due to the continued downfall of the division, but also his newfound potential.
“Think about it,” said longtime boxing commentator Jim Lampley. “If Ali did fight now, that would mean he came back to life. That would be supernatural on top of his already amazing natural gifts. For that reason, I actually think he’s underrated at 6th. He should be higher.”
The rest of the Top 10 heavyweights in the world are Mike Tyson at No. 7, followed by Evander Holyfield, Sylvester Stallone and “a robot, probably.”